My 12 Favourite Apps + Tools for Managing Instagram for Creative Businesses
I have recently gotten super-addicted to Instagram for business purposes.
I’ve had a personal account for about a year and a half, but it was only after watching this amazing Creative Live workshop with Sue B. Zimmerman that my eyes were really opened to the business potential that IG has. Since then, I’ve dived in heavily and have been strategically dedicated to building my business presence on IG, especially for Create & Thrive. Since I’m loving it so much, and I’ve learnt a lot and experimented with a lot of apps recently (and we have a rather exciting IG-based thing coming up in August…), I wanted to share my favourite apps and tools for using Instagram with you. Just so you know, I have an Android phone (Samsung S5) so I don’t know how many of these are available on iOS. I’m assuming pretty much all of them, though.
Here are my 12 favourite Instagram apps, in no particular order:
This is an app that allows you to #regram – copy and post someone else’s instagram post to your feed. The free version has a watermark, which is fair enough, which looks a little ugly. I’ve actually figured a way to repost pictures without this though, but I include it here if you want to do it a bit faster and don’t mind the watermark.
I use this app to download the instagram image I want to regram. It’s easy – on the Instagram post, just tap the three little dots in the bottom corner, and it’ll give you a ‘share link’. You paste this into InstaGetter, and it downloads the image to your phone. This way, you can regram a nice clean image AND you can make edits to it if you like (such as adding a hashtag or the @mention of the person you regrammed from). A bit of Instagram etiquette – NEVER regram someone’s image without crediting them. Just put something like ‘#regram from @createandthrive’ in your caption. Also, make sure to read the person’s bio before you regram their image – some photographers, for example, ask that people don’t do this with their images. Most people, however, are happy and flattered when you choose to regram their images, especially in the business world. An alternative to this is to simply take a screenshot of the IG post you want to regram, then upload that image to IG and crop it square right over the original square image. It won’t be as high quality this way, but it’s quick and easy.
This is an awesome photo editing/prettifying/text adding app. It’s the best I’ve found that has maximum functionality for free. You can crop, add borders and effects (like bokeh), add text, and add elements. It’s got a lot of functionality!
This is a simple grid-making app, for when you want to combine more than one image into one IG post. It’s simple to use, allows you to choose a lot of different grid orientations, border colours, and includes a fun ‘shake for random grid’ feature!
This is a great app if you want to create a ‘flipbook’ of image to appear in one IG post. I used this a while back to share photos from a BrisStyle market I attended. Rather than spamming my followers with 20 posts, I put 20 images into one Flipagram, with music.
You know those times when you want to share a photo on IG, but you don’t want to crop it square? SquareDroid to the rescue! You can simply import your photo, and it will add space around it in whatever colour you like to turn it into a square image.
This is my favourite quick-and-easy ‘add text to an image’ app. You import an image from your device, and you can add text, borders, and filters (I don’t use the filters though, I don’t like them). I upgraded to the full app pretty quickly because I use it all the time, and it was only around 2 bucks.
IFTTT allows you to create ‘recipes’ so that when you do one thing, it automatically does something else. You may sometimes notice me put the tag #fb on my IG posts. This is a trigger tag for IFTTT! In this case, my recipe is: ‘If I put the tag #fb on an Instagram post, IFTTT will post that image to my C&T Facebook page’. Voila! If you’ve got an Android phone, which currently doesn’t allow you to connect a Facebook PAGE to your Instagram, this little trick is gold! I also have a recipe enabled that posts my IG photos to twitter as native twitter photos. You know most of the time when you cross-post to twitter it will just send the link back to IG? Not now – IFTTT actually pulls the image across and posts it right on twitter. Oh, I also have a recipe set up that automatically saves my IG posts to Dropbox so I have them backed up. The one downside of IFTTT is that – as far as I can tell – you can only connect one IG account/FB Page/twitter. If you run multiple businesses like I do, that’s a bit of a pain – but you can just choose which accounts you cross-post to the most and go with those.
I’ve had an Evernote account forever, but have only just recently really started using it properly. I am now a total fan. It allows you to capture quotes from blog posts, write down thoughts, and about a gazillion other things, and have these accessible across all your devices. Very handy.
This is how I get stock photos from my computer to my phone. Every so often I’ll go on a stock photo downloading spree and save them all to Dropbox. That way, when I need a nice image to use as the background to an IG post, I’ve got a handy bank of them right there on my phone. This is also one of the tools Megan E and I use to work together. She makes a number of the C&T IG images, and when she’s done, she just uploads them to a ‘shareables’ folder in Dropbox that we both have access to. I can then download them to my phone right from my phone, and share them on IG quickly and easily.
If you want to view, like, comment and save IG photos on your computer, this is the site for you. It used to be called Statigram, and is basically a computer-based IG management app. Plus, if you’re a numbers nerd like I am, you can check out all your stats! New follows, who unfollowed, how many likes, comments, and reposts as a number and percentage… and lots more. Awesome for businesses who are trying to build their engagement and follow rates.
I love Canva so very much. It’s a web-based drag-and-drop graphic design program, and it’s fantastic! Easy and intuitive to use, and free for basic use. I really like their revenue model, which is that the vast majority of the elements and images available in Canva cost $1. You can import your own images to use, too! You can save your design as an image, or as a pdf for print. Canva saves the bank of designs so you can go back and change them at any time. I use Canva when I want to crate a batch of similar images (like I did for the #CTShowUsYourShot competition). I also use it for other graphic design needs for my biz. It’s still in beta, but going from strength to strength.